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Four east London councils are planning to help residents and business people cut down on their heating bills this w...
Four east London councils are planning to help residents and business people cut down on their heating bills this winter. Local people and firms will be able to see how much heat they are losing through their roofs thanks to a thermographic survey by their councils.

The survey by Barking & Dagenham, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest councils was the biggest in England. They commissioned a plane to fly a sophisticated infra-red camera over east London on a cold still night. The camera took infra-red 'heat pictures' of homes, factories and offices below, highlighting heat loss through poorly insulated roofs. Now the images have been processed and are ready for detailed analysis by council officers.

The consortium of boroughs known as North London East Energy Concern (NoLEEC) see their role as raising awareness of the scale of the problem and encouraging energy conservation. Individually and collectively they will be providing help and advice to property owners on ways to reduce energy loss.

Thousands of pounds worth of heat a year is being lost across the region due to poor insulation. The cost falls disproportionately on poorer people, as they tend to live in the worst insulated homes and have lower incomes from which to meet higher bills. The recent cut in VAT may help a little, but fuel poverty is still a major concern.

High heat loss due to poor insulation can significantly reduce the profitability of small businesses.

Photographs from the£16,000 survey will be on public display in a series of road shows in the autumn. Local people will be able to see their own homes or workplaces and the amount of heat escaping through the roof. Advice and information will be provided on financial help with conservation costs for those who cannot afford to improve the insulation of their homes.

'Residents and businesses in east London face many challenges, the high cost of energy is one of them. Poor energy conservation costs all of us money. We all pay through poor health, air pollution and higher prices for goods and services from energy inefficient firms. By targeting energy loss we aim to improve the quality of life for residents and the profitability of local enterprises,' said Cllr Huw Morgan Thomas, spokesman for the consortium.

'Councils as major landlords and property owners too have a responsibility to conserve energy. We will be working to improve the insulation of our offices, schools and homes over the next few years. The new government's injection of additional capital finance will help a bit with this very necessary work.'

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